As part of the release of Burnout Paradise Remastered, we spoke to Matt Webster, Criterion Games GM. You can catch our look at the remaster with the rest of the interview here, but he did have some good news for fans of the old studio.
If you remember, the studio split apart quite some time ago, with much of the team joining Ghost Games to work on Need for Speed and founders Fiona Sperry and Alex Ward leaving to create Three Fields Entertainment. It was reported that Criterion itself remained but had been stripped back to just 16 people, and probably even less after Sperry and Ward left. However, they’ve since rebuilt while working on the VR Mission for Star Wars Battlefront and the Starfighter Assault mode for the sequel:
This isn’t really news, but Matt explained, “Criterion is now up over 100 people, we’ve learned a huge amount [from developing Starfighter Assault], we’re cooking up new things, and we’re enjoying bringing our own particular view on video games in our collaborations, particularly the one we’ve had with DICE over the course of the last couple of years.”
It’s great to see and hear that the studio has grown to such an extent, after having shrunk to 16 people back in 2013. “I think there is a strong core,” Matt said. “I think there’s over 25 people still work at Criterion that worked on Burnout Paradise. We’ve got a core that have been here for a very long time. As ever, games are made by more than one person and this core is really important.”
Of course, this was really in an attempt to work out what Criterion are working on next and whether it might be a Criterion led project. While Matt obviously couldn’t go into any specifics, reading between the lines implies that Criterion will carry on with their collaborations, but might not be returning to the racing genre in the near future.
Matt said, “We are cooking up a bunch of things, and unfortunately I’m not able to tell you what they are, but we’re in really rude health, let me tell you that! […] We’re doing lots of different things and expressing ourselves beyond the racing genre, though there’s some fascinating stories about the throughline from a car to a starfighter [laughs]. If you’ve enjoyed playing Starfighter Assault, you can probably see those, but yeah, we’re a very, very healthy team doing some super work.
Don’t worry, I made sure he knows that people want a new X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter, preferably with VR.